Senior Courtney Birkett made Colorado College volleyball history on Friday evening, despite California Lutheran University ending the Tigers' run in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Division III Volleyball Championships.
Birkett became the first player in program history to earn at least 1,000 career kills, 1,000 career digs and 1,000 career assists on her 11th assist of the night. The setter/rightside hitter put up a ball for freshman Myca Steffey-Bean to put down on her first assist in the third set to earn her 1,000th assist. She ended her career with 1,129 kills, 1,053 digs and 1,007 assists.
The eighth-ranked Tigers fell to the ninth-ranked Kingsmen in three sets, 25-17, 25-21, 25-21, on the campus of Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
CLU hit a .303 attack percentage on 45 kills in 99 attempts with 15 errors to earn the victory, which was the first time CC has allowed a team to hit over a .225 attack percentage this season.
"Cal Lutheran was the best team we played all year," said head coach Rick Swan. "Typically this year when we lost a set, we beat ourselves. Tonight we got beat by a better team. They played a great match."
In spite of the defeat, CC finished the season with a 34-4 record for its fewest losses ever in a season in Tiger volleyball history after making their 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. CC's record also marked its best-ever winning percentage in a season at .894 percent.
Birkett led the offense with 18 assists on the night, while Steffey-Bean led the attack with nine kills.
Senior Sophie Merrifield, who finished her career with a school record 2,498 career digs, anchored the backrow with eight digs. Sophomore Sarah Barker also picked up a team-high eight digs and added 12 assists.
The Kingsmen (26-5) were led by Allie Eason with 13 kills. Michelle Lawrence and Sarah Pappas also picked up double-digit kills with 10 kills apiece for Cal Lutheran.
Cal Lutheran will take on Texas-Dallas in the regional semifinal on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Colorado College Falls in First Round of NCAA Tournament